Biocompatibility of Sweetpotato and Peanut in a Hydroponic System

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  • 1 Department of Agricultural Sciences, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL 36088
  • | 2 Department of Agricultural Sciences, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL 36088

`Georgia Red' peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and TU-82-155 sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] were grown in monocultured or intercropped recirculating hydroponic systems in a greenhouse using the nutrient film technique (NFT). The objective was to determine whether growth and subsequent yield would be affected by intercropping. Treatments were sweetpotato monoculture (SP), peanut monoculture (PN), and sweetpotato and peanut grown in separate NFT channels but sharing a common nutrient solution (SP-PN). Greenhouse conditions ranged from 24 to 33 °C, 60% to 90% relative humidity (RH), and photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) of 200 to 1700 μmol·m-2·s-1. Sweetpotato cuttings (15 cm long) and 14-day-old seedlings of peanuts were planted into growth channels (0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2 m). Plants were spaced 25 cm apart within and 25 cm apart between growing channels. A modified half-Hoagland solution with a 1 N : 2.4 K ratio was used. Solution pH was maintained between 5.5 and 6.0 for treatments involving SP and 6.4 and 6.7 for PN. Electrical conductivity (EC) ranged between 1100 and 1200 μS·cm-1. The number of storage roots per sweetpotato plant was similar for both SP and SP-PN. Storage root fresh and dry mass were 29% and 36% greater, respectively, for plants in the SP-PN treatment than for plants in the SP treatment. The percent dry mass of the storage roots, dry mass of fibrous and pencil roots, and the length-to-diameter ratio of storage roots were similar for SP and SP-PN sweetpotato plants. Likewise, foliage fresh and dry mass and harvest index were not significantly influenced by treatment. Total dry mass was 37% greater for PN than for SP-PN peanut plants, and pod dry mass was 82% higher. Mature and total seed dry mass and fibrous root dry mass were significantly greater for PN than for SP-PN plants. Harvest index (HI) was similar for both treatments. Root length tended to be lower for seedlings grown in the nutrient solution from the SP-PN treatment.

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Former U.S. Dept. of Agriculture High School Intern.
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